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12th June 2023

How to Build Successful Partnerships?

Throughout my career in technology, creating the right partnerships, be it with other technology providers, designers, or business looking for a development team to support them with their own internal or client projects has ultimately been the critical ingredient for success.

At the heart of this lies a number of fundamental principles that I always follow and will share with you today.

Firstly, People.

When I first enter into discussions with a potential new partner, I'm naturally curious about the Person. I take the time to listen, explore, and try to understand what makes them tick, what they are passionate about, discover facts about their lives, and develop an empathetic relationship. I find this motivational, everyone has a story and there is a lot to learn and take from developing this level of empathy, it's enriching and importantly builds trust.

I strive for a partnership to be at an emotional level, 95% of time this is the case, however, sometimes, despite the best efforts on my part, it can end up transactional, this is not all bad, and having this insight and agreement with yourself and the people involved will help guide your decision making.

Secondly, Process.

Developing a sound “ways of working” agreement is extremely important when building a successful partnership.I always seek to get agreement around areas such as:

  • Meetings - How Often, Agenda, Platform i.e. in-person, remote or a mix of both. Ideally getting some quality in-person time really helps with relationship building.
  • Other ways of communication - i.e. Phone, Email, Slack. Making oneself available is really important. Being available for your partners beyond that initial sales stage is key.
  • Project Management - Having a flexible project management framework that you can adapt to a best fit for the project and tasks in hand serves both you and your partners, ensuring there are clearly defined deliverables, budgets, timescales and the management processes in place to make your tech projects run as smoothly as possible.

Lastly, Tools.

Successful partnerships are all about collaboration, so making sure you have a great tool set in place to support and facilitate better collaboration is key.

I usually establish as part of the ways of working process what tools best fit the working relationship, for example:

  • Google Docs for Documentation sharing
  • Slack for day to day messaging, but not important things like sign off, documented decision or requirements, always push this on to the below!
  • Email for audit-able and “easy to find” threads of communication
  • or Similar, Trello for example for shareable collaborative project boards for workflow
  • Docusign or similar for digital signing of agreements and contracts

Over the past 23 years I have seen my own business create long lasting partnerships. We work with a number of leading creative, technology and gift card solutions companies, delivering the win-win results that we all strive for. 

I hope you find this of value, and I would love to hear any insights you might have around things you have discovered on your journey to building a successful partnership.